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  • Writer's picturePJ Gardner Switzer

The Books that Made Me: Kelly Coon

Meet my friend, and agent sister, Kelly Coon! She's super cool and impressive. Let's get to know her through the books she loves.

The Books that Made Me Love Reading

I love reading thrillers (Tiffany Jackson, Sarah Lyu), fantasies (anything by Brigid Kemmerer, Namina Forna, Leah Bardugo), women’s fiction (Taylor Jenkins Reid), especially with bittersweet endings (Kristin Hannah), unreliable narrators (Gone Girl), Greek mythos retellings (a la Circe), and endings that I never see coming (Sadie). Put me in a topsy turvy world where I don’t know which way I’m going and I’m hooked!

The Books that Made Me Excited to Read Right Now

Oh gosh, I’m dying to read Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray, and This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron. I’m a sucker for YA fantasy and can’t wait to get my greedy paws on both of these.

The Books that Made Me Want to Write

Half Life by Lillian Clark made me want to be a better writer because she grabs you and hooks you into the story in three pages. And despite impossible scenarios—she literally clones her main character and creates a new POV—she makes it all believable and sciencey and real. More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn (or really any of her books) made me realize that dialogue is VITAL to storytelling. Also, any time I read Colson Whitehead I wonder why I even bother to write hahaha

The Books that Made Me a Lifelong Fan

I read Madeline Miller’s Circe and Song of Achilles and said out loud to myself in an empty room: “I’ll read anything this woman writes.” I felt that way about Toni Morrison and subsequently read everything she ever wrote.

The Books that Made Me Like a New Genre

Okay. So I’m not into video games at all. I used to play when I was in middle school, but am typically super bored with video games as an adult. So, it makes no sense that Marie Lu’s Warcross would resonate so loudly with me. Half the plot literally takes place inside a virtual reality video game. Ordinarily, I’d never pick that book up based on the premise. BUT WOW. She converted me! I was thriving inside that YA sci-fi and bought the second one, Wild Card, immediately afterward. I loved them! She’s a phenomenal storyteller.


Young adult author Kelly Coon is an editor for Blue Ocean Brain, a former high school English teacher, and a wicked karaoke singer in training.

She adores giving female characters the chance to flex their muscles and use their brains.

She lives near Tampa with her three sons, brilliant husband, and a rescue pup who will steal your sandwich. Gravemaidens and Warmaidens is her debut YA Fantasy duology.


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